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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Safety and Danger for a Teenager during the War

by cambsaction

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Isabel Talman
Location of story: 
Stapleford, Cambridgeshire
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
22 December 2005

The danger really started when the Germans were bombing us in our village and all the way along the Haverhill Road right up to the Gogs. We had the German planes coming right over our houses. I remember running out on one occasion and being able to see the pilot clearly, the planes were that low: he could have shot me there and then. And on one occasion, a plane came down right in the middle of the village.

Then my father used to drive into London, every day, in a very large lorry, delivering food to the docks; he had a great big trailer on the back which a very tall chap, who was an ex-policemen, used to control, with brakes and so on. On one occasion, my father had a very lucky escape when a bomb or a doodle-bug was dropped right in front of his lorry but he managed to avoid it. The dangers were increased by the black-out because there were no street lights and you couldn’t use headlights — so you had to be very alert.

Then on the other hand, lots of things were very safe: for instance, we could go to dances and walk home without ever having to think that we would be molested. In fact, the soldiers were very polite and nice to us; we had Czechs and Poles posted nearby, along with the 27th Lancers (that was the 8th Army), and they were all marvellous to us, they showed us real respect. It turned out that one of the Czech chaps wanted to marry me but I was much too young then and my mother didn’t want me going off to Czechoslovakia at that young age. My brother would take me to dances at Shelford and sometimes one of the chaps would walk me home and there was no attempt to take advantage of that situation. So, in fact, it felt pretty safe, on the ground, in that way.

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